While religious nut jobs poke their nose into the politics of high profile cities like New York and DC, Philadelphia - perhaps thanks to the fact that many uneducated zealots think God was born somewhere in Missouri - has managed to fly under the radar.
We've elected Brian Sims, Councilman Kenney has proposed sweeping legislation at the behest of the LGBT community, and Mayor Michael Nutter stated he wants Philadelphia to become the "most LGBT friendly city" in the world.
Whether Nutter's lofty aspirations seem realistic or not, these are things that don't happen in other parts of the United States without resistance, even in cities as progressive as New York and San Francisco. Hate groups target high profile cities they deem influential, or sophomorically, "gay." Meanwhile cities like Philadelphia are free to charge ahead with an extreme lack of resistance, while the more prejudice aren't concerned enough with the lives of others to speak out.
Philadelphia is both the Wild West of gay rights and ahead of the curve. Basically, hate groups don't really know what to do with us. Which may be why Courage, a fringe Christian organization that claims to convert homosexuals to a heterosexual lifestyle decided to hold their local event at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on City Line Avenue, far removed from citizens and politicos who would care.
Courage is in for a rude awakening when it comes to town on March 29th. Philadelphians have a unique outlook towards LGBT rights and, gay or not, are ruthlessly supportive of divergent lifestyles. Courage is versed in attacking the cliché protestors, but Philadelphians aren't cliché. Southerners are tight lipped when it comes to their convictions and what they choose to accept, New Yorkers and Washingtonians are divisively political, and the West Coast is chock full of vegan beet-burger fueled hippies, but Philadelphia is an anomaly of acceptance.
We may spew hate over bike lanes, parking, and dog poop, but when some evangelist swoops into town claiming he can "fix" our neighbor's kid, Philadelphians can throw back a kind of solidarity these hypocrites have never experienced.
These groups fixate on stereotypes because their understanding of our "condition" ends with stereotypes. That multi-ethnic mob of camouflage caps, baggy jeans, and South Philly moms descending upon St. Charles Borromeo in March won't be the support that Courage expects, it will be Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware telling Courage to take its bigotry elsewhere.